She's having a baby.

When a sister is having a baby and you are pretty sure you done having some of your own you get all sorts of excited. My uterus just yelled, 'PRETTY SURE!?!?! Oh hell no sister, we are done. You think the occasional and unexpected piddle in your pants when you laugh, run, cough, jump, or sneeze is bad...I am going to abuse the urine system so bad Depends are on your weekly shopping trip list!!!!'

The reason is simply just like this; you get to coddle, spoil, smoosh, and love on a little baby with all your might and then when the moment hits be like, 'ok. that was fun, here's your fussy baby back I think it wants YOUR boob.'  O.k. so I totally didn't breast feed my kids. WHAT!?!?!?!? It goes like this....even if my milk had come in fully, even if I hadn't gotten thrush, even if I knew I would get over the razor blades babies have stored under their gums that come out upon sucking, I just don't think I would have stuck with it. You breast feed, awesome. I didn't. As I look out my window upon children racing through the yard screaming at each other I think they are doing alright. Perhaps not genius', but they will be able to obtain employment.

So my sister who was married last year is now officially 'with child.' You go through the waiting period of 12 weeks to announce this to the world because of all the sucky 'what ifs' that some people, like me, go through and then you are like, 'HEY!!!! I'M NOT JUST GETTING FAT FOR FUN PEOPLE!!! NO, I AM NOT TRYING TO ATTEMPT TO LOOK LIKE THE WALKING DEAD!!! I AM PREGNANT!!!'

Then they only tell immediate family, then extended, then facebook, and then your sister can blog about it. It's all about order people.

I will toot my horn and totally say I knew it probably about the same time she found out she was pregnant. Listen...I am like the 'with child' whisperer. No, I am totally not, but I know how a newly pregnant person acts because of course I acted like this as well, and I am totally a people watcher and very nosey. What?!?!?! Come on. Me??? Nosey??? I dare you to try and hide something from me.

So my sister came to one of my child's birthday parties looking like she hadn't slept in approximately 73.5 days, the slightly dark circles under the eyes were just rearing their ugly head. I turned to my other sister and said, 'yo, she's pregnant.' Other sister was like, 'no, I don't think so, didn't she have wine?'  Then I was like, oh yeah, this sister has not had something growing in her uterus attempting to take over your entire body, so her opinion right now isn't very reputable as much as I love her.  As I was sitting next to possibly pregnant sister, her hubs then came up to her and was like, 'hey babe, you need anything? Drink of water, maybe?,'  and then proceeded to lovingly brush her hair back. And all of you that have been with child are like, 'oh yes, of course, that was the icing on the cake.'

Poor fellow. He is a newbie at this. There are code words and statements you do not say aloud around other women unless you of course want them to know you are talking in code. I do agree, this man is a sweetheart and thoughtful, and all that. But asking your wife who looks like she rose from the dead, who has not stated that she is not feeling well, if she needs anything at your inlaws house is code for, she is with child.

The Future Madre y Padre.

So I just waited it out, and would tell her every so often that she was pregnant just to make her feel awkward. I mean what is a big sister for, really?

So...on to 'Aunt Land,' I go. I am truly truly so very excited. I love me babies and a growing family. I love the way a baby smells. My nose will be afixed to this child's scalp. Totally normal, promise. I can't wait to swaddle that turkey up nice and tight in its blankie and hold it until my arm wants to fall off. This probably sounds like I would want another of my own. I assure you, this is not the case. Besides that, my ovaries just walked out the door with suitcases.

Totally weird though when your sister gets knocked up. I mean not in the, I know what you do behind closed doors, type of thing. Just that this is the person you used to torment endlessly and now they are giving life to a little soul. You try so very hard to keep a tight lip as someone goes through pregnancy. Most especially when you are the oldest sister and typically always have an opinion. Just sayin. So you try to let their experience be their own, and not being all like, 'yes, you see its true, I wasn't exaggerating being pregnant, is in fact miserable.' 

Best part is about this picture is that I totally remember this outfit and on most days when recalling my sister in my head this is what she still looks like. And she's going to be a MOTHER!?!?

Here are some other fun facts you do not share with pregnant sibling:

1. That pain in your back honey, oh that's just the beginning, wait until that thing rests its ass on your sciatic nerve for 8 weeks because it seems like a really awesome place to nest and grow. That decision will now affect you for life.

2. Oh, you're in the second trimester now? Sleep like your life depends on it. Because in fact, it does. This is it. Once that thing has reached maximum space capacity at about in your uterus and decides to stretch out your skin with all its might until it decides its a good day to make it's appearance up until the age of maybe your youngest leaving home, sleep as you know it now, is gone forever. The second trimester is now your safe place.

3. I am aware that you do not want to know the sex, so don't study closely because hamburger buns are a girl and a bunless hot dog is a boy. Ultrasounds have come a long way. I knew Jake was a boy before the woman even pointed his weens out.

4.  You are really not eating for two. I really hate to break it to you. You will give birth, and a few days later convince yourself that there is another one in there that they forgot to take out. Sadly, this is not true. Do not go home and attempt to put on anything other then the yoga pants your wore until you were the size of a small house. Muffin top takes on a whole new meaning. Its more like, science experiment gone wrong and goo is puddling over the top of your pants.

5. Privacy? I don't even know what the meaning of this word is anymore. There is no privacy after having children. So if you, or your hubs is not o.k. with an audience while using the bathroom or dressing and changing, well you probably should start practicing now or hold everything until they are fast asleep, but even then, this is not a guarantee to privacy. I, however, do not volunteer to be the gopher.

6. Birth.

7. Listen, I don't think I need to mention anything more then that word listed above. My sisters have watched me birth a child. But let me tell you something, although you may now have a good idea about time frame and what to expect with the whole delivering a child thing, nothing, absolutely nothing, not even the best doula in the world, can prepare you for birth. I have done it three times and wouldn't know how to prepare someone fully. All I can sum it up is as, it will hurt like a mother f-----. It will end though. You think you are dying, but it will end...eventually.

8. Along those same lines, epidural. Dude, don't go all She-ra on me. Birth in a pool, birth in a hot tub in your back yard, just make sure the anesthesiologist makes house calls and you have proper extension cords needed for the I.V. Nothing, not even your mom, can coax you through this pain. Take a trip on the modern medicine train, thank Jesus for it, and let them stick that needle in your back. They could have stuck a needle in my eye at that point and told me I would be blind in that eye for life and I still would have been like, 'GIVE ME THE MEDICINE!!!!'

9. Things are just going to start happening to your body that are just really unattractive. They are totally not controllable, so go with it. Case in point, that one day you get in the shower and your breasts are squirting milk out like they are super soakers. Yes, I realize you did not sign up for this. Wait until you go to take your first dump after birth, how about that?  You will now be convinced that there indeed is another child that was left in there, and it got its directions confused. And whatever you do, don't take a mirror to the nether regions. Horror.

10. You are going to do things and say things you never dreamed you would ever do. Like study a child's poo and overly obsess about it. You will look out windows in the dark of night and cry because everyone is sleeping out there but you and this child. You will taste milk that is not from a cow just to make sure it isn't too hot. You will walk around with spit up down your back all day because you didn't know it was there, and everyone else felt so bad for you so they didn't mention it. You will go days without a shower...you say no way, but you will, it will be so long you will sniff your pits and really have to think about when the last time your showered was. You will contemplate securing a pillow over the face of the child's father who just sleeps and snores the night away as if there is not a wide awake child in your arms.

But see, I would never let my sister know all this unless of course she asked. I will just welcome her to the club and give her that reassuring nod that comes with having endured a battle so great, that only the strong survive.

Seriously, thank god I am going to be an aunt.

T minus six months until the little turkey arrives.

Totally a boy. Calling it right now.


The Graduate

Cue Pomp & Circumstance.
(Editor's Note: Thats one of his BFF's in front of him. I know this without looking away from the lens in my camera because hands in pockets and sweet outfits equal swagger and a friend of E's...this is the future Ralph Lauren graduating mind you.)

So the middle graduated from Pre K this week.
Kendall finds this highly unfair. Then in normal fashion gets all reminiscent and says,  'I just love my class this year...we are totally going to miss each other this summer. We spend 7 hours a day together, what are we going to do when we don't do that everyday!?!?'
I don't know. Swim. Go on vacation. Drive me crazy.

As previously mentioned, I had decided to give E one more year until he went to kindergarten.
Best decision. Big high five to myself...a good parenting decision...maybe I can do this.

If you are thinking that perhaps your child is just not right for kindergarten, or someone blatantly points that out to you, give them one more year. You totally don't have to take my advice, they won't take your kid away from you, but your life will be a lot easier.

E is a kid, that in most cases, will not do something until he knows he has it right. This can be extremely frustrating when attempting to know if he at least gets the gist of the alphabet or what number he can count to.

This year things came flowing out of him like I don't know what, I was going to say vomit or pee, but you know, that's just inappropriate.

And he made himself some tight friends.


The graduation ceremony was Tuesday night. In the past E has kind of mouthed the words, looked uncomfortable, and was probably sweating bullets. So I prepared for much of the same. Must.Not.Make.Eye.Contact. Flooding him with praises none the less, because we got it and understood Ethan. He would rather run through flames then stand in front of an audience. I was fussing with Jake when the first song began, because I mean why be a three year old if you don't fuss when you aren't supposed to. I began to hear this loud singing voice that sounded like E's start leading the pack. I threw a juice box and some matchbox cars into Jake's lap, and had to look up before the moment passed.

But it didn't.

My Middle Child. Singing. Mouth wide open carrying a tune like this was his job.
They sang a bunch of songs, he didn't once falter or become uncomfortable.
They then played a tune on xylophone.
Apparently this kid has some musical skills.
Who would have known? Not me.
Next he will whip out some Beethoven on the piano.

Listen this kid makes me mush.
To see him be proud of himself melted my heart.
I also cried when I signed him up for kindergarten. I'm not ashamed. Him standing there doing the eye exam looking all grown up.
So of course I was a mess at this graduation.
Look out for high school graduation.
This mom will have banners, megaphones, a 5 piece band. I will be standing on the bleachers....'MY BAAAAABBBBYYYY!!!!'

I pulled him aside when graduation festivities were over. I told him how proud he made me and that I loved him so much. I also then told him to stop playing me...totally onto his game.

E & His Teacher...something tells me this woman is owed a ton of my gratitude.


My Baby

The weasel turned 3 on the 4th.
I still refer to him as the baby.
I think this might be stuck on him for life.

The baby on the Jaguar because that is what Diego has. Alright...so clearly he is not a baby, and perhaps not even the size of a toddler, I really don't care what you think, he's my baby.

'Shhhhh.....the baby is taking a nap!!!!!!!!!' But it's very simple, if you wake Jake from a nap before he has made the decision that he is refreshed and ready to continue on with his day, you will have hell to pay. There is no fury greater in this house then Jake awake before he wants to be. I have been known to leap down flights of stairs when E brings his buddies in here for a refreshment break to silence them before Jake hears them. That's right I will break my bones to keep him asleep, it is that serious.

' I have to give the baby something for his belly or he is going to lose it!!!!' Along the same lines as sleep, if you do not feed Jake, havoc will take place. This child is the biggest child I own, and he requires a ton of nourishment, daily. 'Ma-yee I need sumting to eat.' All.day.long. As previously mentioned, he is my future line backer. Either that or a contestant on the Biggest Loser. In either case he will be financially stable.

He is my baby. Oh and I coddle this thing like nobody's business.

Out of the bunch, at 3, he is probably the one with the most wit and has a memory like an elephant. I really find it astonishing that elephants have such a good memory, but then again, I am also typically astonished with Jake's memory as well. He will remember how to get somewhere after only one drive, he will tell me verbatim what he did while I was at work the night before, this sometimes does not work in his brother and sisters favor. He can remember what happens next on Team Umizoomi after just one run through. This memory comes in handy. 'Jake!!! Where did Mommy sit her keys!?!?!...Where did we park the car!!?!?!....Are we out of milk!!?!?!?...Where did E say he was going!?!?!'

His fave foods right now are:

Cheese Curls.
Dude, do not come between this man and his cheese curls. You buy a whole bag this is his job to finish it.

Popsicles...or opsicles as he calls them.
He has been caught breaking into the freezer and stealing two or three at a time.

Hawaiian Punch...or I-an Unch.
Oh you don't give your kids red 40? You're missing out.

French Fries.
Must have ranch and ketchup for simultaneous dipping.

Ice Cream.
Plain ice cream (vanilla) with chocolate on top.

As you can see his diet is just really awesome and right on track for your normal 3 year old.

He likes to say:

'Yippy Skippy.' This occurs when overly happy about any person, place or thing. I think I am going to start saying this. 'Hey Melissa, we are just calling to remind you of your upcoming appointment here at the gynecologist.'
'Yippy Skippy!!'

He likes to ask when driving anywhere in the car, 'where we going.' And when we arrive there and get back in the car to leave...'where we going now?' When running multiple errands at in one trip this can get a little, I don't know...annoying shall we say.

He is obsessed with burping.
Please, I don't know why.
He can now make himself burp because you see this is quite entertaining to your big brothers friends.
I at times have to threaten him to stop because it is getting to crazy at burp 12 to 15 that I think he is going to throw up.
'What do you say Jake?'
' 'scuse you.'

He likes to:

Play outside. He thinks he is 6 and can play with the big boys, so I often see him in the side yard tackling someone from behind. The unfairness in this is terrible because they know if the tackled him back they could do some damage, so bless their hearts, for now, they don't. Payback is well...you know.

Play sports. He may not be over the top skilled but little dude knows about every sport and the concept of how to play it. His favorite right now is basketball. Consequently, I have more sporting goods in my home then should be allowed by law.

Make funny faces. His is like the king of facial expressions. You can read just what he is thinking by his face. O.k., so maybe I have a tendency to also poesess this quality, its debatable.

Here I am asking him to smile for a picture with his cheese curls...he is thinking the same thing as you...
that is a really stupid idea.

Play super heroes. His favorite time to do this is when we are shopping in Target. He will take the size stickers off the clothing and put them down his arms, legs, and across his forehead. O.k. so maybe he also busts out of the middle of the clothing racks and yells in his manly super hero voice, 'I am here to get the bad guys for you Ma-yee.' I don't know why size stickers constitute as super hero attire, you don't ask these questions.

Spike his hair like his big brothers. This of course is not ideal for a hair of longer length, that is wavy, but whatever floats his boat. The fashion maven tries to explain to him that his texture of hair is not the same as him, but he could care less. 'Ma-yee you spike my hair like E's...dat's cool.'

Be bossy. No, this dude can hold his own and more. His demeanor is that of an oldest child. He can boss and bully his siblings into things that have me saying to his older siblings of 3 and 4 years, 'hey, hey hey...he's 3, if you know jumping out of the crib and trying to land on Ethan's bed is wrong then don't do it!! And if he says he is going to pinch you if you don't you come tell me!!!'

Evidence: The suckers. He told them to ride together on the alligator...so they did.

He has my heart. Oh his blonde lightly curled hair, big blue eyes and little nose speckled with some freckles get him out of all sorts of trouble. He is my toughy. He is all boy, all the time. He is filthy at the end of the day. Tub water that light shade of brown. He is bound and determined to learn how to walk in flip flops properly.
Ask him who is best friend is: Ma-yee.
Ask him who he loves: Ma-yee
Ask him guess what?: Chicken Butt...Guess Why, chicken thigh.
I love little boys.
He is without a doubt my favorite three year old in all the land.


My Ode to WWC

My senior year of high school I had not a clue where I was going to spend my collegiate career. I will say looking back, that 18 is such an awkward age to decide what you are going to do for the rest of your life. Thank goodness we are just complete morons at this age, and so the task ends up not being so daunting. If I were having to make this decision now there would be lists, in depth studies, interviews, anxiety attacks...all the things that come along with making an adult decision. However, for me, at 18, I was like, 'Adventure!! Leave Home!! Independence!!! Sign me up!!!'

Into the end of the winter of my senior year I was pretty decided on PBU, but I wasn't too thrilled about being so close to home, remember; Adventure!! Leave Home!! Independence!!'  I was told about an extension of PBU, a campus in Wisconsin. It's again at 18 where you don't really hear all the details you just hear what you want to hear which was distance for me. Listen, go big or go home.

PBU's campus in Wisconsin happened to be a Wilderness Campus. That's right. Me and the Wilderness. You are thinking oil and water...this I know. Again, 18 = moron. At the time, backpacking, foraging, cross country skiing, hiking, surviving, mountain biking, were minute details to the facts that involved me getting out on my own. Wisconsin required more then just a ride down Almshouse Rd. to the other side of Newtown and I was all over that.

At the time I was there, the campus was limited to about 30 to 35 students. They try to make the male/female ratio somewhat even. You needed to apply early and then sit on a waiting list. I took a gamble, knowing I was way late. Got a phone call from one of the admissions peeps there for a phone interview stating that they were looking for another girl. And then I was accepted. My wit and charm take over every time...or perhaps just a number that needed to be filled.

When I got there I had no idea as I looked around at the other 28 faces that were there with me that this year is one that would change my life. You know me, I was looking around sizing everyone up wondering at that point what in the world I had signed up for. But by the time my parents were leaving to trek home without me at the end of the first weekend there I honestly didn't look back, my mom can attest to this.

 If you have ever watched an American Pie Movie, you are aware of the one character that loves to reminisce about stories from band camp...'this one time at band camp...' If you attended WWC you get where I am going, you will probably always say throughout life...'this one time at WWC...' I am also fairly certain people surrounding you are like, 'oh great here we go again, will it be the story about her freezing her rear off camping in the dead of winter and thinking she was going to die...or about the time when Ken fell off a cliff.'

Sadly, no more then sadly, the Wisconsin Campus is just ending its last year. You know I'm not even aware of the details. I know that PCB, or PBU, or Cairn, or whatever you refer to it as, is offering an adventure campus out of the campus in Langhorne, which I am sure will be awesome. But I am a sentimentalist and can't help but be a little disappointed, listen, I'm allowed, I am an alumni. There is a similar current that runs through everyone who went there, even on a different year, and its a little sad that it won't go on.

So what was I thinking?

I am here to tell you. You put 28 people in pretty much the middle of nowhere for almost a year, some crazy stuff goes on. I almost kind of get how easy it would be to be involved in some cult. No, now hear me out. I would never be in a cult, that's just silly, but the co-dependency and roles formed within a group like that makes group dynamic theorists hungry. If reality shows were huge then, we would have been top rated. The co-dependency was so rampant that we were sobbing like we were losing limbs when we had to go our separate ways at the end of the year. Like, how could we possibly survive without the others? Even those we spat with or who irritated us to no end, we were sad to be apart from. My grandmother was with me on the drive home, she tells me I was pretty much silent until we reached Ohio. This is not normal. Most of us were going to see each other within a few weeks.I lived 5 minutes away from two of the people who went there with me. Beyond that, most of us were going to school together the following fall. But we had been with each other daily,all.day.long. living in this little bubble, we in fact had become a little crazy.

I was totally cool with that.

What I experienced there was things people can probably write a 300 page book about.

And for the sake of what was WWC, and for its memory...here are some of my favorite band camp stories.

The jobs. Similar to work release. We were told to off set the cost of tuition that daily we were to engage in some sort of work around the campus. This could be working in the kitchen, helping in the office, babysitting the directors kids, oh...little Benny Jalovick..., work outside, chopping wood. That's right, chopping wood. Your duties at first would rotate until you found an area you liked, and then you were pretty much assigned to that. Typically most of these jobs were in the afternoon, after class.  Here's me, the moron, not wanting to work in the kitchen, so I was occasionally assigned to chopping wood. Half way through the year, I was 'encouraged,' to maybe think of a job in the kitchen. I was even told that if I did dishwashing at dinner time it left the entire afternoon free. Naps galore!! (no one naps like a college student) I pretty much was being told I sucked at chopping wood. I don't even think I chopped wood, I think I just stood by the trailer we were loading looking pretty and called it a job.

I did in fact go camping in the dead of winter in Wisconsin. The point was to make an igloo to sleep in. Supposedly these things would keep you so warm you could pretty much sleep naked, due to body heat being trapped. It all seemed really kind of gross to me, sweat, keeping you and someone else of the same sex warm... o.k. even with the opposite sex... I really didn't know what I was saying until I thought about it, and either way, its gross. So Jessica had a broken ankle from playing broom ball...listen don't ask...some game they play up there with a broom on ice, running, to me, broken bones are inevitable. So this left her unable to sleep in an igloo, really I don't know why, people who live in igloos all the time certainly break bones. But whatever, a few of us girls opted to sleep in a tent. Let me tell you something. People that say sleeping in tents is fun are crazy. People who do this in the dead of winter are just plain dumb. We did not sleep that night. In fact we froze our asses off. I even wept thinking that I was going to die and  that this was just the most ridiculous place to do it. Jessica had it even worse with a cast encasing the cold onto her leg. I contemplated climbing into an igloo but wasn't up for barfing from seeing naked bodies in an igloo. I would have rather froze, and so I did. Close to dawn we heard some rustling around outside. I cried out, 'who is that!?!?' ok, so maybe I screamed, 'HELP US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' The voice that replied was that of Matt Goodman. 'I'm going pee, go back to sleep.' Really!?!?! No way!!! It was up to me to save the lives of my girls, I took full advantage of Jessica's condition and yelled, 'no, please make a fire, Jessica is frozen solid and needs help.' Listen I don't know why we didn't make a fire ourselves. We were probably scared of those crazy mountain people you hear about...we had no sleep...hallucinations is an offset of that...who knows. All I know is that Matt Goodman made us girls a fire, and although he sat miserably by it, probably wishing he was naked in an igloo, he saved our lives.

O.k. so for gym credits...this was college, we had to complete certain activities. Like mountain biking ten thousand miles or cross country skiing forever and ever. We had to complete a certain amount of mileage or time each week. So for some reason or another we would procrastinate and on a Thursday we would all be scrambling to complete our quota. In the winter, this involved a course in cross country skiing. I really don't know how many miles needed to be completed, all I know is that it was a lot. So much in fact that one time we were just cruising along on an afternoon on a back trail and Cortney just sat herself down. And Cortney was not a quitter, so I thought she needed to rewind her tape or something...I did say rewind her tape. I almost flipped over her. It was then realized she was freaking out , arms flailing, and when I turned to look and she was throwing her equipment in an absolute rage. 'THIS IS SOOOOOO STUPID!!! I AM JUST SO SICK OF SKIING!!! WHY ARE WE DOING THIS, NO ONE IS WATCHING!!!' Which was completely true. This was the final turn of our sweet Cortney who realized that hey, not everything is always enjoyable or that you need to pretend it is, some things just need to be cursed about. We all came into our own a little bit that year. And I really think that is what the first year of college should be. You should be thrown out into the wilderness to see what you've got.  OO was a lit trail,and we would go to this little trail night after night significantly late,  and ski back and forth, and back and forth until we reached our mileage. We made mix tapes to pass the time, and I would be singing aloud going back and forth to keep my sanity. However, it was at these moments out there in the middle of nowhere, where we were lost in our thoughts, pushing limits, and holding our own. Independent.

Of course, of course there was intermingling amongst the ranks. I mean seriously we were a bunch of teenagers thrown to live together. It's like the Real World on MTV, with morals. There was of course slim pickings and many boys would vie for the same girl, it was pretty much always Laurie. She was the quiet one. I was bossy and loud and hard to please...ok so maybe not much has changed. I do think that at some point almost every boy had a crush on every girl, and vice versa. It was totally to be expected.  It was like a commune. It was also extremely confusing, but if you sat back and watched it,really hilarious. Hormones are inevitable. There I said it. I will share this one story, but leave out the name of the boy, who about in mid march of that year, just called me on the phone in my dorm and told me to get down to the end of the drive because he needed to make out with someone or he was going to go crazy. Now that's how to treat a lady. I didn't go, but just the same this is how much of it went down...climbing through windows, sneaking off into the woods...it's the secret chapter in the WWC book. There were some pretty legitimate relations to come out of that year, and one has now been married for 14 years. Meggan told us girls pretty early on in the year that she was going to marry Eric, we all thought she had just about lost her mind, sure he was cute, but marriage!?!?! They were married a year later...that girl don't play.

For the most part, except for three girls, which each had our own areas as our rooms. Mine was a big open space, but there was a half wall and a pretty definite separation between my space and the other space in the room. In reality, my room was an off shoot to many of the other rooms and had a door that led right outside in it...silly directors...but it became the thoroughfare. I liked it this way, it gave me social interaction with all the girls I was there with regularly. Me? Social? Stop. I did at times wish I had a roommate, but then would end up being thankful I had my own space. Remember messy room from last post? You got it. I instantly clicked with a girl named Cortney who I swear was put there just to be my friend. I know, it is so terribly selfish of me to say that, but I clicked right on into her. We were so very alike and so very different all at the same time. I loosened her up and she straightened me up. I would run to her room to escape and she would run to me to be crass and crazy. For a few weeks, I did crash on her bottom bunk because my room had started to stink. I cleaned the crap out of it thinking that something was just rotting in some secret corner. Nothing. We were then told that yes, it was something rotting, and probably just a dead animal in the wall and the smell would go away after it stopped decaying. Real awesome. Just. A dead animal. This was the wilderness people.

I honestly could probably co author the book. Memories can come flooding in when you let them...my long term memory is still in tact, phew. I have a video I had sent home to friends that year and I just watched it the other night. First off. I am old. Secondly, I reaffirmed that yes, this probably was a top year in my life. And lastly, I hate my voice.

So to all of you that had your year at WWC with or without me how fortunate were we. To those heading up the new outdoor program...well, you have some big shoes to fill.


My Mother

This is my mother. Well the one on the right. The man on the left, lets just pretend we don't know him. I honestly have no relation to anyone who might behave or act like that.

 Let's just look at it again.


Regardless of man making strange face and weird cryptic arm and hand gestures...my mom has been a mom for almost 35 years. She is living proof that you never stop becoming a mom, because when I am sick and throwing up, I seriously still cry for my mom. I'm not joking.

I am also a mom. SURPRISE!!! I really didn't write all those pushing child out of my hoo-ha stories for fun. I am a mom because of my mom. I mean, yes bore me inside of her uterus so yes, without her I would not be here to be a mom.  However, beyond that, she made me want to be a mom. She is so very skilled and talented at being a mom. I take full credit, I am after all the oldest, as well as her favorite, given I have provided her with three beautiful grand children. Not lying. And no, stop asking, I do not know why I look like the man in the above picture, its just a coincidence.

I am also quite certain there are two reasons as to why I am a mother to my daughter that are also in direct correlation to my mother.  I was a tyrant of a child and adolescent. Was I fun? Sure. Was I loud? Of course. Was I difficult, challenging, and typically impossible? You best believe it.

My daughter. I have said before, my mom describes her as, passionate. I describe her as dramatic.
I also believe and have said before, that what goes around comes around.

I was a really awesome teenager. Ok, so maybe my mom didn't think so. But I am certain my pack of friends did, we were all really awesome...don't worry guys I will totally mention you in the acknowledgement section of my future posts about my teen years.

Here are two incidents that have come back to haunt me when I look into the eyes of my daughter I am teaching survival skills to so she becomes a functioning human being.

This one time in junior high, I was caught lying. I do not remember what it was I was lying about. I think that most lies tend to work this way. However, due to this lie I was grounded for a month. Perhaps you don't really get the great impact that might have on me and my social life. It meant that I did not get to go to my friends boy/girl birthday party that was within this month, go to a school dance, or talk on the phone, and I was pissed. After the completion of my time, I was sat down in front of my parents in a great parenting moment, and asked what I had learned from this punishment. You see now most smart children might say, 'oh well, I learned to tell the truth.' And then smile and nod, completing the pow wow. Now, I was not smart. I looked at the two of them. Without sarcasm, sass, or any negative tone said, 'nothing.' Seriously, I said the word, 'nothing.' I now realize after having children of my own, specifically my daughter, when a child says this to you, you basically want to lose your shit, cool right there.  I then went on to say that sitting in my room not engaging in social activities did not teach me not to lie. I was really dumb people, I was the child who made my parents want to bang their head in the wall.

In typical teenage fashion, I also did not like to clean my room. Go figure. This in fact, drove my mother insane. At some points, the clothing and things would be almost level with my bed, you would literally open my door, and have to step up. On occasion she would graciously clean my room. Really what she was doing was snooping and reading all my notes to and from friends because she would leave them unfolded on my bed to let me know she knows what they said. I would just fold them back up and put them in some shoebox under my bed. I would then say, if asked, 'do you know how many things I could be doing that are worse? Drugs. Cults. Birthing babies. Stealing parents cars and driving them all over town all night!?!?' Oh wait, we did totally do that one, but it totally sounded good for my argument. What they didn't know at the time couldn't hurt them.

When I did clean my room it would take all day long. I would blast Eagle 106 from my radio and be in there all day. They would play throw back music all day on Saturdays and I would totally bust a move in there. My room was the size of what is now known as an acceptable sized walk in closet, but I still managed to be such a slob. I would be in there all day. Ok, and perhaps having an imaginary dance party may have caused some procrastination. But by the time I had to meet up with friends, that joint would be sparkling. Just don't look under the bed.

You would think this might make my mom happy. You know me finally taking her threats seriously enough to clean the room every once in awhile. Nope. And so the battles ensued day in and day out about the messy bedroom.

One day I am certain she thought she was mad clever. She kept telling me that she was just going to empty my room out and throw it all over the front lawn for me to pick up. This day came. I saw the chaos before she saw me, this I am certain, as I was walking home from the bus stop. Clothing was flying out my window all over the garden and lawn below. My Mom Mom was there and she was most likely thinking my mother had lost her mind, but also most likely got some amusement out of the whole thing because I don't think the apple falls far from the tree. I remember completely prepping myself.  So this is what I did. I just walked right up to the house, paying it all no mind. I walked past flying bras and panties and right into the house to grab a snack and engage in whatever it was that I did after school those days. I left it all out there. Bras hanging from limbs. Yes, this is what I did. This my friends, is why I have been gifted with Kendall. I am sure neighbors drove by wondering why there was unmentionables and socks strewn all over the front of the house, but again just like the 'your grounding didn't work,' scheme, I was again set to make it known, a thong sitting on the roof of your car has taught me nothing about cleaning my room.

I am clearly aware now, when being a mother myself, that I should have just let them be punishments. Because I now do not have the last laugh.

I don't know when I cleaned that stuff up. I know it wasn't immediate, or in the following few hours, or even that night. All irrelevant. She wanted me to be embarrassed about my stuff all over the front lawn, I made it seem as though I wasn't. This again, to a parent, is infuriating.

I do realize that things could have been worse. I am constantly talking to my friends about parenting skills and how one false move and your child is all sorts of trouble. I consider the trouble my friends and I got into as 'responsible trouble.' We were never once in trouble with the law. Except for that one time when we were pulled over after toilet papering someones car in the town we live in less then a mile from home. The officer asked us what we were doing in that certain neighborhood, and we said we were lost and not sure how to get home. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Again, I will just remind my parents, I told you I did not learn anything about lying by being grounded for a month in 7th grade, this incident is proof. The officer just told us to go home by going left at the stop sign and drive fifty feet.

However, the reason I had some sense about me was because of my mom. I am certain I drove her mad. But I never would have turned out the way I have if not for her. That might also be considered an insult to some, but I like to think of myself as a good mom. I am going to toot that horn. I work my ass off for these kids, its the reason I don't have one. That, and my mom doesn't have an ass either. Ok, we have asses, its not some genetic malfunction, they are just like pancakes.

My mom is a perseverer. I totally know that isn't a word. She totally persevered through parenting, taking each moment as it arose. Her and I paved the parenting road my sisters got to drive on. She was simple. She was creative and clever. I have been rewarded with her being one of my closest confidants and friends. This is my motivation with Kendall, I know if I persevere and take each moment as it comes, and pave the parenting road with her as wisely as I can, she will be o.k. She will certainly have adventures and a slew of good stories, but she will be o.k.

My mom is beautiful and admirable and I love her dearly.

Again, I am not certain who the guy she has on her arm is...I think he might need some medication.

(Love you too, Dad)


Magna Doodle Confessionals

The evidence was destroyed quicker then I could get my camera.
'I love Jackson,' had been written on the Magna Doodle that was in a certain girl that lives in my houses' bedroom.

You know immediately I try to convince myself, oh she forgot to add 'Michael,' before Jackson, how silly. Surely, like her mother she loves to dance to 'Don't Stop Till You get Enough,' and 'Thriller,' duh.

I mean for crying out loud, she's 7. Then I clearly remember me and my girly friends chasing a certain boy around on the black top at recess in Kindergarten. Kindergarten! I think we were trying to pinch him or something absolutely stupid. Socialization and admiration at that age are very primitive...ok, so maybe sometimes they still are. I wish I could remember his name. Something cute and very kindergarten crush appropriate I think. Any girl who was in Kindergarten with me, feel free to chime in, the brain fart is starting to annoy my o.c.d.

So I continue my clean up of the rooms saying to myself, 'let it be, this is her room, her privacy, her little crush.' Then of course I remind myself who I really am, nosey, and decide to just, 'make mention,' of Magna Doodle confession in some, I am that mom, moment.

She is in the shower in her little blissful singing in the shower moment and I ask, 'Hey Kendall, so is there a Jackson in your class, or like a Jack that rides the bus, I like that name, but I can't remember if they are the same person or not?' I know, real subtle, I'm real classy like that. She freezes in place. Minutes go by and she swings the shower door open, flaming red cheeks. 'Jackson is in my class, Jack is on the bus.' Swings shower door back closed.

Then she starts this fake laugh chuckle thing. 'Hey Mommy, I can't believe what I did today. I was writing on the doodle thing, and I was going to write, I love Jacob, but I couldn't remember how to spell his name, and I ended up writing Jackson by accident, so funny...right!?!?!' Followed by another tirade of fake awkward chuckles.

Here's a few things about this moment presented to me by my daughter, who absolutely stinks at lying:

1. The fake laugh (it is so awkwardly funny that I have to walk away so I don't bust out laughing at it in front of her, you know the laugh a bit of nervous combined with a bit of obnoxious then forcefulness)
2. She knows how to spell Jacob foward and backwards, there was no moment of confusion with this.
3. She would not just write, 'I love Jacob, ' on her Magna Doodle. Her love for her brother is deep, but not worth proclaiming on a Magna Doodle. He is 3. His main objective right now, is to annoy the crap out of her. This does not produce that warm fuzzy feeling.

She then proceeds to go on and on about it randomly throughout the rest of the evening.
'Oh my gosh, I just cannot believe I wrote Jackson instead of Jacob, that was just such a funny mistake.'
'Oh man, Jacob is J-A-C-O-B, not how I spelled it, which I think spelled Jackson, what an error on my part.'
'Mommy? How do you spell Jacob again? I just want to make sure I don't make a silly mistake like that again.'

This goes round and round until I finally am completely regretful of even being nosey in the first place, so perhaps for me, lesson learned.

I sit her down and say, 'look, I know you wrote Jackson on purpose, and it is completely normal for you to be a bit smitten with a boy in your class. You think a boy is cute, that's it, you don't have to make up stories about it to Mommy. I had crushes on boys too, probably a few too many that left me completely distracted all day long, but I did. End of story.'

As you may have gathered, I am a tell it like it is kind of girl, and so this obviously extends into my parenting; 'I told you if you used that chair to climb up on that ledge you were going to fall and get hurt, now get up and go and put the chair back where you got it from, and then I will inspect you for injuries that might be permissible to cry about, there is no evidence of immediate blood or loss of consciousness so therefore return the chair and stop climbing up on ledges to jump off of.'

However, my daughter, is my daughter and like I have said, I am nosey. So this continues as I am tucking her into bed. 'Mommy, you thought boys were cute? Like what boys? What did they look like, what were their names? I can't believe you thought boys were cute too!!!' I told her, dude, this list could easily fill a novel of which we could never read in one night, but that no, I am not an alien, and yes, I can actually relate to you. 'So give me one.' In an effort to appease her, and make her feel a bit normal and relatable in an embarrassing moment of such, I gave her one. I told her about the boy I had a crush on all through elementary school and high school and never ever told him about until graduation day. A fit of giggles ensued. 'MOMMMMY!!!! You should have told him! I bet he had a crush on you and you could have had crushes together, and you could have swung on the swings at recess together!!!'

I didn't bother to explain further then that, that life really doesn't actually always work like Disney Fairy Tales that you wrap up in a perfect little gift box. I didn't share with her that there would be tears, and confusion, and hurt, and frustrations. I didn't let her know that she will read and reread notes from boys looking for hidden clues to his undying love. I didn't let her know that she will torture herself listening to songs on the radio and cry over dumb boys who thought another girl was prettier. I didn't let her know that she will spend half of school dances in the girls bathroom with her girlfriends consoling them or getting consoled because a boy she thought was cute was dancing with another girl. I let her have her little crush, because that is really all it is. She is in first grade. I didn't panic and question if I thought she was growing up too fast for her years of 7. I mean really, at the end of the day, mastering a cartwheel is still much more important to her. There was no reason for me to go into with her more then what it was, and as usual, back my train up.

She is a spirited little girl who has a crush on a boy who gives her his only chocolate cookie from his lunch bag because he knows they are her favorite, and who holds the swing still at recess so she can hop on before going to play soccer with his buddies. He is also the boy who, 'accidentally,' bumps into her and laughs when the class is attempting to get into line, just to get her attention. This is so caveman, why do they do things like this to girls?

I met Jackson the other day on the school field trip. I took in his ripped at the knee jeans, his tee shirt with a motor oil logo on the front, his converse sneakers, cheeks with a smudge of dirt on it from playing too hard with something, and his messed up hair. I listened as he loudly asked Kendall as he bumped by her, 'did you like the play?' Something tells me she too will have a confession on high school graduation day.

I mean I totally don't blame Jackson, who wouldn't save this girl a cookie?